VERNON HILLS, Ill. - Winter is hanging on in Vernon Hills, but there's a small, smelly sign of spring - skunks.
The creatures can cause significant problems, including harming people's pets and attracting fleas into homes.
"It's a significant problem," said Vernon Hills resident Marc Alexander. "Sometimes you almost feel cornered because you'll see them in one spot, 'oh I can't go that way.' You go down the block the other way, and then you're seeing a skunk there."
On Tuesday, the Vernon Hills Village Board gave unanimous approval to restart a skunk control program that was first implemented in autumn 2017.
Residents who hire a professional to remove skunks from their property will be reimbursed up to $75.
"There's a large swath of green space in the area that seems to be a transit way for animals of all kinds, and the skunks seem to congregate," said Vernon Hills Village Manager John Kalmar.
Officials said the program worked until the wet winter increased the grub population, giving skunks a healthy supply of their main food source.
"Skunk disease rates are very low right now," said Urban Wildlife Manager of ABC Humane Wildlife Control and Prevention Rebecca Fyffe. "The skunk population is very healthy, and that means that the offspring that are born are very likely to survive to reproduce themselves."
Officials said trapping and removal aren't always necessary. Residents can also try lining porches and decks with fencing to keep skunks from burrowing underneath.